The Two Minute Review
TSB is a solid bank, and its Spend & Save Plus account might be attractive to some people. However, there are more rewarding accounts and some accounts are offering switching offers. It is also middle of the market in term of customer service.
- Best in class mobile app and digital experience.
- 🏦 Has a branch network (though this is smaller than the “Big 4” banks).
- 😊 Straightforward to open.
- 📱 Nicely designed app with round ups feature and saving pots.
- 💰 Other banks give better rewards.
- 📈 Interest on overdrafts can be high.
Ranked #14 of 25 personal current accounts in the UK.
What The Experts Say
“If the performance of a customer app is a key factor for you when deciding who to bank with, TSB may not be your first choice.”
What Users Say
Each year the CMA (Competition and Markets Authority) commissions an independent report that asks a thousand customers of each of the major banks in the UK how they feel about various aspects of the service they are getting. The results put TSB in equal 14th position.
Click to see the full picture.
TSB has a Trustpilot rating of 3.6 but here at The Grade we like to dig a bit further.
When you exclude reviews the company has itself invited and look just at organic reviews, the average score is actually 1.74. In terms of organic Trustpilot rating this means TSB is number 11 out of the 25 personal banks/current accounts we review.
At the last check, Smart Money People had collected 547 reviews which gave TSB an average score of 3.7 out of 5.
TSB in a Nutshell?
TSB is a British bank that was founded in 1839. It has over 5 million customers and over 1,200 branches.
In April 2013, the bank was taken over by the Spanish bank, Banco Sabadell (the 4th largest bank in Spain). It offers bank accounts, savings accounts, insurance, mortgages, loans and credit cards. Here we’re going to look at its current accounts.
How to Apply for a TSB Current Account
It will take about 10-15 minutes to apply online or via the app. You will need to be over 18, a UK resident and need to be able to provide one of each of the following:
- Driving licence (UK/EU/EAA), UK passport, EU/EEA identity card.
- Driving licence, utility bill, bank statement, council tax bill.
What Accounts Do TSB Offer?
There are two main accounts worth going for at TSB – the “Spend & Save” and the “Spend & Save Plus”. Here is how they compare.
|Spend & Save||Spend & Save Plus|
|Arranged overdraft limit||£2000 at 39.9% default interest||£2000 at 39.9% default interest|
|Interest-free overdraft allowance||None||£100|
|Monthly cashback||£5 for 6 months||£5 ongoing|
|Using card abroad||Fees apply||No Fees|
|Savings pots and “save the pennies” feature||Yes||Yes|
|Auto balancer feature||Yes||Yes|
|“Returned item fees” i.e. fees for declined transactions when you have no money in your account||£3||0|
So the main positive is that both accounts will pay you £5 a month. However, the free account will only do this for 6 months. There are also some strings attached. In order to get the fiver you will need to make 30 debit card payments each month.
Both accounts also have 5 individual savings pots attached to the account. You can assign them a name, a picture and a regular savings schedule (e.g. put £50 in each month on the 25th). You will get 1.24% interest on these pots for the first year – which is OK but certainly not the best rate on the market. After a year this drops to 0.2% and at such a time we’d definitely advise you to find a better rate for any savings pots you have.
There are a couple of other features we don’t really like.
- Standard interest on overdrafts is a hefty 39.9% EAR.
- The 2.99% transaction fee for using your card abroad on the Spend and Save Account (this is waived on the premium account).
How good is the app and digital banking?
The app has a modern, clean design that is super intuitive. TSB has also been busy catching up with the challenger banks by adding some nice features:
- Save the pennies: This allows you to round your transactions up to the nearest pound and to transfer the difference to a TSB savings account. So if your weekly shop came to £28.30, this would be rounded up to £29 and 30p would be added to your savings account.
- Auto balancer: Allows you to set a minimum level of your balance. If you go below this, TSB will automatically take money from your savings account and keep you above this threshold.
- Savings pots: Easy access savings pots (explained above).
You can of course see your balance, make transfers, see transactions (including pending transactions) etc. However, you can only see the last 3 months of transactions which can be a bit of a pain.
We spend hours reading user comments to see what feedback people are giving. Here are some positive and critical comments that stood out to us:
Better than most
Been a member of TSB for years because they always give a good service, always looking to help if they can. Also, understanding of needs of disabled is better than most. Physical access to the bank is acceptable. TSB offer better security than most.
Very bad online facilities.
They used to be excellent online bankers, but now I can’t get anything useful from them online. Contacting them is all but impossible. I am very disappointed and feel I have to switch after almost 20 years.
I’ve been with Lloyds, which became Lloyds TSB, and now TSB, for almost 30 years. For almost all of that time, they were pretty good – great service, and the Platinum account was pretty good value when it first came out.
I’m now finally getting round to downgrading my Platinum account to a free one. I’d been meaning to do it for ages due to the deteriorating value (higher price, fewer features), but recent poor service has tipped me over the edge. No point listing all the instances – they’re mostly minor but do add up – but being turned away today from trying to pay cash into my account was the last straw. If you’re not able to deposit cash, then what’s the point of a local branch? Apparently handling cash is “too expensive, we wouldn’t be able to keep the (city centre) branch open”.
How Does It Compare Against The Competition – Can I do Better?
TSB is ranked #18 of 25 personal current accounts in the UK (click to see full list).
Are there better current accounts on the market? We’re calling out the following accounts as excellent:
Chase has brought to the UK the kind of rewarding banking you normally only see in the states. We're hoping it starts a revolution on this side of the Atlantic. The digital experience is also first class and there is 24/7 customer support.
Remember to check out the Chase website for all the terms and conditions.
Currently if you switch to Nationwide they will give you £200, plus an interest free overdraft (credit check required). You can also get 5% interest on balances up to £1,500 for 12 months.
You need to set up 2 Direct Debits within 60 days. Check full conditions on the Nationwide site.